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Your Rights as a Driver if You Hit a Stationary Object

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 5 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Rights As A Driver If You Hit A Stationary Object

If you are involved in a road traffic accident that involves a stationary object, it will often be assumed that you are automatically at fault – because you were driving a moving vehicle and the object or car that you hit was still - but is this always the case?

There are lots of accidents including stationary objects every day, most often involving skips, a car being parked in an unusual or dangerous place or unlit road works, and you might find that whoever left the object there may be liable to some extent.

What To Do If The Accident Was Not Your Fault

Whether the stationary object that you hit was in the road itself or at the side of it, if you feel that the collision wasn’t entirely your fault you should make notes and take photographs of the scene and the object in question so that you can provide evidence if the matter is investigated further by the police or by your insurance company.

There are several factors from which it can determined whether or not you are considered to be responsible for the incident. To determine this you will need to pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and return to the scene of the bump and consider the following questions:

  • Was the item marked so that it was visible to an approaching driver?
  • If the collision occurred at night was the object lit so that approaching driver could see it clearly and give themselves time to avoid it? In the case of skips there should be flashing lights to indicate where the skip starts and ends, and how far away from the road it is.
  • If the object was not clearly lit or made visible then the owner is responsible. This is usually in the case of parked cars or private skips. If there were roadworks involved, or a hole dug in the road, then whoever is in charge of carrying out the work is responsible and needs to be contacted. You may need to check the item carefully to see if you can figure out who the owners are - a utility company such as gas, electricity or water board, a contractor carrying out work for a private or public company, or perhaps a local authority. Make a note of the owners contact details, or ask around to find out who the obstruction belongs to or is the responsibility of.
  • Once you have this information, set about taking any photographic evidence that you can to prove your point.
  • If the object was unlit or in a dangerous position, make sure you take photographs that illustrate this, and try to include something in the photograph that can indicate scale - for example, a CD.
  • If the object has been left actually on the road in an unsafe position or in a way that contravenes the highway code then the owner of the vehicle or object may be found to be liable for the accident.
  • If there have been any previous accidents or issues caused by the obstruction, then it is likely that this could count as evidence that the object was the reason that the accident took place, or at least was a contributing factor.
  • If possible you should gather any witness who saw the collision and would be willing to say that the object you hit constituted a dangerous obstruction, and that it was not your fault that you could avoid it.

It’s always worth remembering that without proof to the contrary, it is likely that a court or insurance company will believe that it is your fault and will assume either a fault claim or a split fault claim with the owner of the object. So the best tip is for you to collect as much information and evidence from the scene as you can, to corroborate your story.

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Please can you give advice re the following : I was parked in a school car park on a dark evening (son was football training) and reversed into a metal post which was positioned at least 2' from a wall to protect the classroom wall. It was in an unlit area, the post was painted dark blue, had no reflective markings and was below the sight of my rear window. Even when I hit it I had no idea what I'd hit. I have photos which are so dark you can barely see anything at all - video evidence is somewhat better but still very dark. The site manager happened to wander past and said he puts tape on the post but it gets picked off. Also said he's had incidents with it before. In my opinion the school is at fault (yes I hit it, but wouldn't have done so if I could have seen it). Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Debs - 5-Oct-18 @ 6:37 PM
On a nice sunny dry afternoon in central London. i drove up the wrong way on a one way road (its about 20 meters long). When i drove up half way I noticed a one way sign facing backwards, I stopped straight away. My vehicle was stationary for good 10 seconds, I was looking around and to the back of my vehicle to reverse out, or find space to turn around. Its then that a vehicle turned into the one way system (the correct way) drove half way through it and hit the front of my vehicle. It didn't even bother breaking. I was 100% visible and the driver had good 4/5 second's to spot me. Who is liable for this collision?
Rash - 24-May-18 @ 5:07 AM
A few days ago I was trying to negotiate the little side road to my home at school pick up time and as usual cars are parked everywhere but after battling through to the last few cars and I came across 1 that was parked right on a bend leaving little to no room to pass a prime example of dangerously parked. 1.on a blind bend 2 dangerously parkedwithout any consideration 3. Blocking the road so no vehicles could pass or even move due to total grid lock 4. Location is hot spot causing accidents constantly 5. Topical school mum parking were is closest, I kid you not I've even had to wait to get on my drive cus 1 mum parked actually on my driveways. APPOLAGISE TO THE SAINE MUM'S OUT THERE. WE'LLI SCRAPED CORNER OF THE CAR BUT STOPPED AND WAITED TO GIVE DETAILS BUT ACTUALLY I STRONGLY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S MY FAULT
Fordy - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:46 AM
A few days ago I was trying to negotiate the little side road to my home at school pick up time and as usual cars are parked everywhere but after battling through to the last few cars and I came across 1 that was parked right on a bend leaving little to no room to pass a prime example of dangerously parked. 1.on a blind bend 2 dangerously parkedwithout any consideration 3. Blocking the road so no vehicles could pass or even move due to total grid lock 4. Location is hot spot causing accidents constantly 5. Topical school mum parking were is closest, I kid you not I've even had to wait to get on my drive cus 1 mum parked actually on my driveways. APPOLAGISE TO THE SAINE MUM'S OUT THERE. WE'LLI SCRAPED CORNER OF THE CAR BUT STOPPED AND WAITED TO GIVE DETAILS BUT ACTUALLY I STRONGLY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S MY FAULT
Antony Ford - 1-Apr-18 @ 5:17 AM
I was pulling into a drive which I believed was a customers. The drive was on an incline and didn’t notice the dark oak post that was 10inches out the ground. I realised it was there when I can to a sudden halt. It ended up smashing my radiator and did damage to my car. I’ve offered to pay for the damage but believe that the post should have been painted so it was visible. The bloke has said he’s had a quote to repair and said a stupid amount. I believe he is trying to get the rest of the drive repaired as it’s in a bad way. Am I 100% at fault or is it possible that this post should have been made more visible and could be 50/50. Thanks James
James - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:04 PM
Al - Your Question:
So I was driving down a road and a car was parked quite far out in the road and it’s very snowy, another car was parked on other side of road so naturally after 6 years of driving I tried to slightly bend to fit nicely between yet the snow made my car skidd into their car, my argument is why was your car so far into the road? Am I wrong

Our Response:
Usually if there is an obstruction in the road, you would stop and see if it could be moved, rather than hit it though. Your insurer will be able to give advice if you provide more detail.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 2-Mar-18 @ 11:11 AM
So I was driving down a road and a car was parked quite far out in the road and it’s very snowy, another car was parked on other side of road so naturally after 6 years of driving i tried to slightly bend to fit nicely between yet the snow made my car skidd into their car, my argument is why was your car so far into the road? Am I wrong
Al - 28-Feb-18 @ 12:45 AM
Alps - Your Question:
I was travelling to London and a foreign object hit my vehicle on the M1 near to Juntion 15 towards Wellingborough/ Northampton. I have a dash cam in my car show so I was able to record the footage. I believe that the object had come off from a broken down car on the other side of the motorway (travelling in the opposite direction). We know it was damaged because there was traffic built up on the other side of the motorway and we drove past the vehicle when the AA towed my car back home.The footage shows that the object initally richochets off one car that is in the 2nd hand lane and travels in the direction of my car, hits the front bumper and then goes underneath my car where the object gets trapped for a little while.I stopped on the hard shoulder because me and my friend could smell petrol in the car. There has been damage to my front bumper, which I have had to claim on my insurance. The smell of the petrol come from the other vehicle that the object initially hit. I have sent two videos to my insurance company, however this has been deemed a fault claim. Is this correct? I have proof and a witness of the incident that shows that this was not my fault. Is it fair that my insurance premium will increase, I will lose my no-claims bonus and I’ll have to declare this as a claim when next renew my car insurance?

Our Response:
If you didn't give specific details of the other vehicle (at fault) including the name and insurer etc your own insurer probably doesn't have much choice here.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 12-Jan-18 @ 3:19 PM
Driving through a side road in very foggy conditionswhere I crashed into a sphere bollard behind a student accommodation which was low on the floor and very stupidly positioned. Passers-by said that this has happened many times and was recently put there to stop trucks. What can I do about this
Uncle - 11-Jan-18 @ 9:43 PM
I was travelling to London and a foreign object hit my vehicle on the M1 near to Juntion 15 towards Wellingborough/ Northampton. I have a dash cam in my car show so I was able to record the footage. I believe that the object had come off from a broken down car on the other side of the motorway (travelling in the opposite direction). We know it was damaged because there was traffic built up on the other side of the motorway and we drove past the vehicle when the AA towed my car back home. The footage shows that the object initally richochets off one car that is in the 2nd hand lane and travels in the direction of my car, hits the front bumper and then goes underneath my car where the object gets trapped for a little while. I stopped on the hard shoulder because me and my friend could smell petrol in the car. There has been damage to my front bumper, which I have had to claim on my insurance. The smell of the petrol come from the other vehicle that the object initially hit. I have sent two videos to my insurance company, however this has been deemed a fault claim. Is this correct? I have proof and a witness of the incident that shows that this was not my fault. Is it fair that my insurance premium will increase, I will lose my no-claims bonus and I’ll have to declare this as a claim when next renew my car insurance?
Alps - 10-Jan-18 @ 9:13 PM
Mski - Your Question:
I had taxi stationary with driver parked outside my pub on double yellows. I stopped behind waiting for it to move but after a minute or so I decided to come out and tell them to move. Because I rushed I didn’t put handbrake on and my car start rolling towards the taxi. With little time to think I have put my leg in between cars stopping my car hitting the taxi. As I had my leg stuck between cars and nobody actually coming out of it I lightly knocked to which passenger of a taxi helped and put handbrake in my car. Taxi driver came out minute after and inspected bumper saying she thinks there is a crack, far from a spot my leg actually touched her car. The force was not big as my leg was absolutely fine, but she asked for me to cover costs of split bumper. I do not believe I made the damage and although I gave her my details as it was stressful situation we didn’t take photos or anything. Where do I stand on that?

Our Response:
We can't give opinions on liability where we don't have both parties' versions of events unfortunately. Ask the other party to speak to her insurer. Your own insurance company will deal with it on your behalf too.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 27-Nov-17 @ 3:35 PM
I had taxi stationary with driver parked outside my pub on double yellows. I stopped behind waiting for it to move but after a minute or so I decided to come out and tell them to move. Because I rushed I didn’t put handbrake on and my car start rolling towards the taxi. With little time to think I have put my leg in between cars stopping my car hitting the taxi. As I had my leg stuck between cars and nobody actually coming out of it I lightly knocked to which passenger of a taxi helped and put handbrake in my car. Taxi driver came out minute after and inspected bumper saying she thinks there is a crack, far from a spot my leg actually touched her car. The force was not big as my leg was absolutely fine, but she asked for me to cover costs of split bumper. I do not believe I made the damage and although I gave her my details as it was stressful situation we didn’t take photos or anything. Where do I stand on that?
Mski - 24-Nov-17 @ 12:43 PM
My boyfriend was reversing out my drive and scratched my neighbours car , they got the police to us , on arriving the police noticed that my neighbours bumper was obstructing my drive and was causing a blind spot , what should we do ?
Ricey - 13-Nov-17 @ 12:38 PM
Adrian - Your Question:
Hi, I was driving through a hospital car park in a swb panel van to visit a sick friend. The car park is run and and owned by a third party. I followed all the signs to the car park that first directed the traffic straight on then "must" turn left (blue circle, white arrow) into a two way road (give way road markings on the road for oncoming traffic). After turning left I noted there were double yellow lines and a hatched yellow area in front of, what appeared to be the entrance to the car park taken to mean "keep this area clear". I then turned left into the apparent entrance but came to an abrupt halt and a loud bang on the passenger door of the van. After inspecting I noted that someone had freshly tarmaced a steel bollard one third the way into the entrance and about a foot into the yellow hatched area that could not be seen from the drivers side of the van. I have dash cam footage (which does not show the bollard in the drivers view) and lots of photographs showing the bollard had in fact been moved three times, each time further into the yellow hatched area evidenced by previous squares of tarmac. This has been reported to my insurance company and they agree the fault is with the car park owners as the signage directs drivers into this road and is clearly marked as a clearway in front of the apparent entrance, nor were there any signs to indicate a "no entry" but in fact clear markings as noted above with the blue circle and white arrow to turn into this road. The car park owners deny any responsibility. Can you advise whose fault this is please?

Our Response:
We can't advise as to liability on individual cases unfortunately.Your insurer may be willing to pursue it on your behalf (especially if you have legal protection on your cover). Alternatively it might be worth taking legal action yourself.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 25-Oct-17 @ 11:29 AM
hi i was driving on a 30mph road at 30mph. i saw a car infront about 200 yards in front, at the time it looked to be on the road, not parked as it didnt have hazards or indicators on, i looked to my left to a housing estate to see if any cars were approaching when my dad shouted its parked, put your breaks on! i looked at him when he said this to me, i put the breaks on straight away, i managed to just hit the car leaving scratches on their bumper and cracked my licence plate, should i get in touch with my insurance provider first, the only details i have of hers is a mobile number and i know what insurance company she deals with, nothing else, i gave her all of my details and never asked for anything from her, i wasnt thinking with being shocked i suppose! i have pics of the damage to both cars, the non emergency police was called by the other lady, im unsure if i should go to the police station to write a report of it myself! their was a family walking past at the time and heard my car bump hers but didnt witness the actual accident, just looking for advice and what will happen next
emma - 23-Oct-17 @ 3:11 PM
Hi, I was driving through a hospital car park in a swb panel van to visit a sick friend. The car park is run and and owned by a third party. I followed all the signs to the car park that first directed the traffic straight on then "must" turn left (blue circle, white arrow) into a two way road (give way road markings on the road for oncoming traffic). After turning left I noted there were double yellow lines and a hatched yellow area in front of, what appeared to be the entrance to the car park taken to mean "keep this area clear". I then turned left into the apparent entrance but came to an abrupt halt and a loud bang on the passenger door of the van. After inspecting I noted that someone had freshly tarmaced a steel bollard one third the way into the entrance and about a foot into the yellow hatched area that could not be seen from the drivers side of the van. I have dash cam footage (which does not show the bollard in the drivers view) and lots of photographs showing the bollard had in fact been moved three times, each time further into the yellow hatched area evidenced by previous squares of tarmac. This has been reported to my insurance company and they agree the fault is with the car park owners as the signage directs drivers into this road and is clearly marked as a clearway in front of the apparent entrance, nor were there any signs to indicate a "no entry" but in fact clear markings as noted above with the blue circle and white arrow to turn into this road. The car park owners deny any responsibility. Can you advise whose fault this is please?
Adrian - 22-Oct-17 @ 9:01 PM
Next door drives onto drive, but hits paving stones on shared path, whichthat person has been driving in and out for weeks, now that person has driven into them, the person is trying to claim to the damage of the car even though the person has driven into a stationary object
Gravy - 18-Oct-17 @ 9:48 PM
davec - Your Question:
Hi I was driving down the m62 motorway around 6am (still very dark) when I drove over a large object in the middle of the third lane the object created damage to both the front and rear bumpers along with the lights and parking sensors. I called the highway agency who took my details but I'm not sure what I should do now as I have a damaged vehicle. should I claim against my insurance which would cost me both excess and on future payments.Any advice would be very great full thanks

Our Response:
Yes call your insurance company for advice. It's unlikely the Highways agency will be able to compensate you unless the object belonged to them and was left as a result of their negligence.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 13-Oct-17 @ 2:34 PM
Hi I was drivingdown the m62 motorway around 6am (still very dark) when i drove over a large object in the middle of the third lane the object created damage to both the front and rear bumpers along with the lights and parking sensors. i called the highway agency who took my details but I'm not sure what i should do now as i have a damaged vehicle. should i claim against my insurance which would cost me both excess and onfuture payments. Any advice would be very great full thanks
davec - 12-Oct-17 @ 5:30 PM
I was driving along a slightly bendy road, as soon the bend was almost to a end and it was uphill slope (not much but was a slope). Another car came speeding past me and I knew if I stayed put going straight I would have risked my life and anyone else who was there at that time. So I turned slightly left but a parked stationary vehicle was there, more than a foot and a half away from the kerb, with the front tyre 2/3 of it locked out facing the road and my front end clicked onto it, which damaged his tyre to face the opposite was and I ended up losing control and hit the car infront of that parked vehicle which was also parked stationary. As I agree that it may be my fault due to just hitting a stationary parked car, but his car was more than a foot and half away from kerb (pavement) and tyres out towards the road, I damaged the wheel but not the wing or the front bumper, around the tyre. I understand if I hit the front bumper and the wing ALONG with the tyre which means I directly drove into the car BUT it only hit his tyre? The owner was not present while at crash, he came afterwards to find out his car has been hit and I went to him and exchanged details. He says I was speeding and hit his car for careless driving before me explaining what happened as if he was already there. That's his story he explained to the police over phone and to his insurance. If his tyres were straight and atleast a foot or less close to the kerb (pavement), I would have not hit his tyre or car and cause so much damage to another car. The guy speeding past me just continued speeding off. Just tell me if it's my fault for directly hitting his car even parked more than a foot half away from kerb and tyres out (only hit his tyre not anything else) or his for not parking properly and his vehicle is to be unsafe for drivers to go past.
MK - 7-Oct-17 @ 2:37 AM
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses.Opinion ? Thank you .
Torn - 4-Oct-17 @ 9:48 PM
Torn - Your Question:
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses. Opinion ? Thank you.

Our Response:
We canot give opinions on individual cases as we do not have both parties' versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 4-Oct-17 @ 2:51 PM
Hi, My partner was driving a main A-road 60 limit bad weather so with caution. Passing a filter junction, a van driver stopped to allow a car to exit the filter junction, the car hesitated causing the van driver to stay sopped, the car was not even on the junction but halfway down the road so a dangerous manoeuvre anyhow, car following van stopped behind van and released brake so no lights, my partner following at more of a distance and so not aware of vehicles being fully stopped, screeched to a stop not expecting the van & car to be at a standstill on the fast A road, one would expect cars to only stop on the filter lane after all, car in the middle had tow arm so destroyed our car, both middle car and van received the lightest of a barely visible scratch, claims are made against us (she is my named driver), I feel the van driver is at fault. the car exiting the junction speeds off, the van driver has claimed against us. obviously due to being A road in dark no witnesses.Opinion ? Thank you .
Torn - 3-Oct-17 @ 11:27 PM
None - Your Question:
Hi, I tipped over a saw that was in my driveway. Went under my car but didn't damage my car. The saw was left unattended while the workers were working on my neighbors lawn. Am I at fault? The company is trying to get the full amount out of me. I only took pictures of my car and the saw after they took it off my property.

Our Response:
We can't really comment on individual cases like this sorry.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 22-Sep-17 @ 11:47 AM
Hi, I tipped over a saw that was in my driveway. Went under my car but didn't damage my car. The saw was left unattended while the workers were working on my neighbors lawn. Am I at fault? The company is trying to get the full amount out of me. I only took pictures of my car and the saw after they took it off my property.
None - 20-Sep-17 @ 6:42 PM
My Number - Your Question:
Hi there I parked on double yellow lines while my wife was sitting inside passenger seat I went into shop.when I come back I saw one van driver reversing into my car car and hit at driver side front wing over the tyre.bay in mind he hit the car while I driver wasn't even in the car.anyway we exchange the details I got repair cheque from his insurance but his insurance not paying hire cost and would like to challenge into court.so who is at fault? Is the other driver or me? If we end up in court anyone have any experience?thanks

Our Response:
We can give advice on individual fault/blame as we don't have both parties' version of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 8-Sep-17 @ 2:03 PM
Hi there I parked on double yellow lines while my wife was sitting inside passenger seat I went into shop.when I come back I saw one van driver reversing into my car car and hit at driver side front wing over the tyre.bay in mind he hit the car while i driver wasn't even in the car.anyway we exchange the details I got repair cheque from his insurance but his insurance not paying hire cost and would like to challenge into court.so who is at fault? Is the other driver or me? If we end up in court anyone have any experience?thanks
My Number - 8-Sep-17 @ 3:13 AM
Mommab - Your Question:
Hi, today I reversed off a parking space to turn at the side of a garage and knocked a stationary motorcycle. The guy had said he put the bike there after I'd parked up. I used my mirrors and could not see the bike. Even after we swapped details and I returned to my vehicle I checked my mirrors again and the bike was not at all visible. if it's impossible for someone to see am I the only one at fault?

Our Response:
We can't comment on situations like this as we don't have all the necessary information or both parties' versions of events.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:04 AM
Hi, today I reversed off a parking space to turn at the side of a garage and knocked a stationary motorcycle. The guy had said he put the bike there after I'd parked up. I used my mirrors and could not see the bike. Even after we swapped details and I returned to my vehicle I checked my mirrors again and the bike was not at all visible... if it's impossible for someone to see am I the only one at fault?
Mommab - 2-Sep-17 @ 5:55 PM
eddie - Your Question:
Hi there, just needed some advice.I was parked fully on a wide pavement (wide enough for a 4x4 car and buggy to pass very easily) outside my parents house as we had just been shopping and it was most convenient at the time. 10minutes later someone knocked at the door to say that she had reversed into my car. she too was parked on the pavement infront. she had attempted to reverse off the kerb, but accidently hit my bumper.We exchanged details and she was happy to pay so much cash to get the paint work done. however, she has said if its more than the 150 she can afford she would need to go through the insurance. Would the insurance pay out because we were both on a pavement?

Our Response:
Yes usually, depending on the type of insurance cover you have. Give your insurer a call or check your policy documents.
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 17-Aug-17 @ 11:22 AM
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